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Ambiguity in mod rules and decisions

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32 days ago
This isn't a hate post as much as it is going to sound like one.
With that being said

I feel within ZK the rules on what is and isn't allowed and what is too far are often left up to moderator decisions and opinions, this leaves a lot of room for uncertainty and often anger towards the moderation.
Clear cut rules are essential for saving the moderators time and that of the player base.
Obviously there is a lot of controversy regarding me however i do believe a change to the rules would be beneficial for not just me but also any newer players and some older ones.
The nature of the game being so competitive means that players are often left heated or resentful of others, this often takes form in forum posts, zk discord and the in game chat itself, what is and isn't "being a dick" is a pretty vague description, now i get that the game has always been quite a tight knit community and so having this moderator discretion style of punishment and decisions has been useful and not necessary to be adapted, however this leaves a large grey area- this grey area in turn leads to both backlash towards mod decisions and confusion.
A clear cut set of rules on what is and isn't allowed would
Firstly- Decrease the amount of time mod actions require and therefore allowing the mods who volunteer to emjoy their days more
Secondly-Benefits the players who feel outraged or resentful about decisions, with clear rules being a guideline for them to follow rather then moderators beliefs or opinions being the guideline, this would in my belief result in less reports and less controversy
Thirdly- Without a clear set of rules and responses to actions, a shroud of ambiguity exists in moderation within ZK and so can often feel as though moderators personal dislikes and likes take precedent over the decisions made rather then rulesets themselves.

quote:
"Treat other members of the community with respect. Don't be a dick. "

This leaves a huge room for what is and isn't allowed

Depending on the moderators personal beliefs and definitions this could mean a lot
If i call someone a stinky lobster, it isn't respectful but to me it is clear it is just a simple joke.
However someone may take this to mean something completely different

Clear Cut Rules Do Not Leave Room For Vagueness or Personal Bias
I can show examples of this however my goal in the post wasn't to single anyone out or cause drama rather to try and improve the community we know and love.
Please if you want to comment try to keep it as civil as possible


However any feedback is appreciated whether it is in line with my view or against it
+5 / -1
32 days ago
It's a small community. Given the nature of the admin team (unpaid, volunteer, limited time), they feel that the best outcome is to use a lot of discretion. I don't agree with a lot of what happens but I can't say that I fault them for this approach.

When you get punished for something this might feel arbitrary or frustrating, but it's also extremely likely that you deserved it, even if you had gotten away with worse things than the thing you actually got punished for.

You're opening a can of worms by making this post on the forums. It's unlikely to end well.
+2 / -1
32 days ago
quote:
Given the nature of the admin team (unpaid, volunteer, limited time), they feel that the best outcome is to use a lot of discretion.

I understand this and i appreciate them for it, but if they had a set list of do's and do not's would that not speed up the amount of time they spend moderating, there is no room for discussion you broke the rules you get punished sort of thing
Rather then what exists now, where it seems as though the action has to be revaluated later rather then a decisive and fair action and in rare instances mistakes compared to now with the "don't be a dick" thing it seems like it could be a lot of personal bais,
ah hes my friend i know he is joking when he calls me shit,
but this guy doing the same thing gets punished due to personal preferences

If anything moderator would be easier if they removed more of the human element from decisions, allowing a clear understanding of when someone goes over the line rather then what exists now
I am also sure with the help of the community drafting fair and balanced rules would not be too time consuming or difficult


quote:
You're opening a can of worms by making this post on the forums. It's unlikely to end well.


I see this stigma a lot, why?
are we supposed to be scared of criticising if so that isn't an environment many are going to want to exist in
A small community should be relatively personal and having a "fear" of modaction anytime you speak out or public hate just seems a bit authoritarian and harmful

Also I am already hated so I don't mind getting the flak for things that need to be said but might receive backlash
+4 / -0
quote:
I see this stigma a lot, why?


There's quite a lot of past reading material on the subject, peruse the asylum.

http://zero-k.info/Forum/Thread/34667?

quote:
Also I am already hated so I don't mind getting the flak for things that need to be said but might receive backlash


This is a logical fallacy that is going to give you a lot of trouble.
+1 / -2
32 days ago
Specific rules invite more specific skirting and border seeking and ultimately do not help against those seeking to disrupt the community.
+7 / -3
Here's a very good point made in a previous thread.

https://zero-k.info/Forum/Post/250592#250592

quote:
If you found that answer unsatisfying, remember that the alternatives to some sort of subjective judgement are "everybody is allowed to do anything that somebody might conceivably do as a mistake", "nobody is allowed to make mistakes", or "we set out a bunch of firm rules that people with bad intentions will exploit and people with good intentions will sometimes inadvertently cross".
+4 / -1
32 days ago
I disagree with that i am not asking for case specific rules but at the moment they are vague to the point it is basically just moderator discretion and while mods are great people for volunteering their time, I can show you examples of cases where they had some bias, vagueness or general strictness that lead to avoidable situations and punishments for players,
I've experienced this myself and clearly from the my conversations and posts others have too.

TinySpider i agree too specific rules are a definite challenge for troublemakers but also too vague rules result in a disgruntled community, a balance between the two is optimal and beneficial to both parties I believe

I can give examples of rules, situations and incidents but again I feel the issue at hand could be fixed by simply more definitive rules, not to the point of loopholes existing and such but at least more then pure moderator discretion, being a dick to me means something very different then it does to each person reading this and playing zk so it is hard to know, I call people profanity filled words in an endearing way, I realise this isn't inline with what is ok here but that is just one example of the rules not fully lining up with players

I have pretty much been called a "D*ckhead" at least 1 time a day as a greeting since I was 14, so where mods see huge displays of profanity it can often be a lightly heated insult or complement it is very situational, also I was never sure fully on what the rules of profanity where and if the game was "Adult" or not.

I also find it very odd that "Noob" is an insult but calling someone a "lobster" isn't just the same thing aha

With out well defined rules the line between what is bad and isn't is quite blurry

I fully understand the issue of exploiting or toe-ing the line in regard to rules but at the end of the day, How can I know if I am close to the line or over it if we have different definitions of what is and isn't
That is why a universal ruleset fixes this issue
+2 / -0
32 days ago
I have to admit I never really read the code of conduct in detail.
But, "be respectful, don't be a dick" is just the "TL;DR TL;DR" version.

http://zero-k.info/mediawiki/index.php?title=Zero-K:Code_of_Conduct

The two "TL;DR" editions are of course quite ambiguous, ie. "Play in a way that is respectful to your team.".

But, the "full" version of that point is quite clear ( under 3. Cooperate With Your Team ).

Of course, it doesn't say exactly where the line goes before you are "ruining the game".
How many times can you mess up a nux rush in lobpot before mods call you out?
Probably quite a few if you also do eco..
+2 / -0
[removed]
+0 / -2
As usual TinySpider is dragging things off topic
quote:
I think the issue was that you got baited by Killingtime and made a fool of yourself, calling him a "cunt". That and I personally think you talk too much and this probably wasn't the first time.


If you want to talk about my ban go to the post about it this is not the place
My point is a lack of clarity within the rules and what does and does not go

As I said in the original post if you want to get personal and uncivil go somewhere else on this one
+1 / -0
quote:
Given the nature of the admin team (unpaid, volunteer, limited time)


Also a severe issue. Lack of time and no pay gives admins no motivation to do well. There is also basically nobody above the staff checking them, they can do anything they want and get away with it.
+3 / -1

32 days ago
You're right GBrankJadem ,just my 2c that I've called people noobs and that was never an issue.
+1 / -0
32 days ago
quote:
You're right GBrankJadem ,just my 2c that I've called people noobs and that was never an issue.

bad example but same premise makes sense, I do one thing and get punished another person does the same but gets on better with mods and gets a free pass, zk is just a popularity contest and whoever has the most friends with "power" has a better time.
Again this post isn't based of one particular incident and it isn't just me who is frustrated i have spoke to people on discord and it is clearly not an issue limited to me
You can see the bias everyday
again clear cut rules and examples of those rules in a scenario would be beneficial
When the mods are interacting in such a way they do and they have such "jurisdiction" and control with little oversight, modactions taken are absolutely bound to be based on personal preferences and opinions rather then the situation at hand
+3 / -1

32 days ago
quote:
I do one thing and get punished another person does the same but gets on better with mods and gets a free pass, zk is just a popularity contest and whoever has the most friends with "power" has a better time.

That's opposite of what I've said. Rewatch your own replay.
+0 / -0
32 days ago
I am a bit lost as to what you mean?
+2 / -0
Even putting aside the point TinySpider quoted about evasion of too-rigid rules, I don't think it is feasible to write a set of rules which will unambiguously set out what is and is not permissible in verbal conduct. Even in a formal legal context, where many professionals over the years have spent their life's work on laying out the rules, cases are still decided by the judgement of juries and judges. We are hardly going to improve, or even match, the thoroughness and rigor of the entire legal profession.

That having been said, in grey areas of the Code of Conduct such as "just how much foul language are you allowed to get away with", the moderators do make an effort to have conversations with people, and issue informal and formal warnings, before escalating to mutes and bans.

To take a concrete example, I know that both myself and other moderators have interacted along these lines with GBrankJadem several times before the current ban. I get that it's not laid out unambiguously in the Code of Conduct, but I think that we had made it pretty unambiguous and clear in direct conversations that, for example, calling people "cunts" on the regular is a problem.

Personally I think we are all better off with the moderators having those kind of conversations with people directly, rather than lawyer-esque wrangling over the exact wording of a (necessarily much larger) Code of Conduct that is probably still ambiguous.
+3 / -0
If there continues to be obscurity around rules, you will always receive complaints such as these.
+1 / -0

31 days ago
quote:
If there continues to be obscurity around rules, you will always receive complaints such as these.

There is no magical way to manage a community full of people that want different things so that nobody feels the need to complain.
+3 / -0
31 days ago
Well if you don't try when a lot of players argue about this then that's an issue. Just look at some of the steam reviews - the other day I saw one outlining how moderation was run like a "small clan guild".
+1 / -0
quote:
...when a lot of players argue about this...

They don't. This just isn't true.

quote:
Just look at some of the steam reviews...

Any kind of comments about the moderation make up a very small percentage of Steam reviews.

You can get any narrative you like from Steam reviews by picking out one or two. For example, a recent negative review complained about the "cheating AI" (which doesn't exist).
+0 / -0
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